I'm Not Male Or Female: What It's Like To Live Life Genderfluid

gender expression
Self

Gender expression is such a sticky subject. Some people define it as being masculine or feminine. Others define it as the way in which you outwardly express your gender, whether it be masculine, feminine, a combination of both, or neither.

My gender expression changes. I'm non-binary genderqueer/genderfluid.

What is genderfluid?

I use the two terms interchangeably because, while 99 percent of the time I don't feel like a girl or boy, some days I do feel a little more feminine or a little more masculine. And it shows in the way I dress, style my hair, and act. 

Most of the time, however, people question my gender — and that's how I like it.

RELATED: 5 Real-Life People Explain Gender Identity Vs. Gender Expression & How Gender Changes Over Time

I always consider myself non-binary because I never feel 100 percent female or male. I'm more of a combination of what we feel a man and woman to be. Usually, I reject the male and female terms completely. But as I said, sometimes I feel a little feminine.

On the days I dress more feminine, it doesn't make me any less non-binary.

Being non-binary means you aren't completely masculine or feminine. It's an umbrella term, for people who fall somewhere between male and female on the gender spectrum.

It's hard to explain that just because I look a little more like a girl — or what society believes a girl should look like — that I'm still non-binary. I still don't feel 100 percent girl.

On days where I look like this, I find it hard to go out. Because I can expect a lot of people to make their assumptions and label me "she."

However, on days where I feel masculine or even neutral, I fear expressing that.

If I have to go to the bathroom in public and walk into the women's restroom, people question it. I've even been kicked out before.

RELATED: Why Misgendering Me Makes Me Feel Like My Body Is A Problem

The photo above was one of my more masculine dress days. I didn't dare leave home and face the misgendering I knew would inevitably occur

While I may look and feel a little more masculine on some days, it still pains me to be labeled that way.

Even though I dress one way (and feel happy dressing as such!), I'm fearful of how others will label me based on their personal perception of my gender.

The majority of time, I look more like the photo above. And a lot of times when I look more like this — a look I consider neutral — people ask about gender instead of making assumptions. 

Sometimes they attack me. Once, a woman threatened to drag me out of the women's bathroom because she felt I was a pervert and I didn't have the "physical parts" I needed to in order to use it. (This was an exception; most people ask before assuming.)

In my mind, gender expression is an open concept, just as gender is. We all experience it differently. Like what you like, wear what you want, and express yourself however you please.

Just because you're a trans woman doesn't mean you can't have a beard. Just because you're a cisgender (meaning your sex and gender align) man doesn't mean you can't wear makeup. Being non-binary doesn't mean you have to wear nothing but unisex clothing.

Remember: Gender and gender expression doesn't come with a handbook. 

At the end of the day, it all comes down to what you like and what makes you happy. Break whatever societal "rule" regarding gender expression while you're on your journey to finding yourself.

RELATED: What It Really Means To Be Genderfluid — And How It Affects Your Romantic Relationships

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Courtney Keesee is a genderqueer/genderfluid writer living in southern Virginia who prefers plural (they/their) pronouns. They are a passionate LGBTQ advocate and love writing about their experiences living queer and with mental illness.

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